When National's newly minted spokeswoman of drug reform Paula Bennett was asked if she had partaken of marijuana, Bennett said she had but it did not agree with her.

It made her fall asleep.

This is valuable intel for her colleagues and rivals alike, should there be an occasion they would prefer her to be out of action. The pro-pot brigade must be tempted.

Recipes for marijuana cookies can be found online.


In terms of her qualifications for the role, she had at least tried the devil's leaf, however.

National leader Simon Bridges said own misspent youth involved Export Gold rather than Acapulco Gold.

Bridges said Bennett's appointment was because she had served as Police Minister once. Possibly it was simply because her name started with P.

Bennett's job is to appease the conservative base in National while trying to look as if the party is being constructive about the issue of liberalising cannabis laws.

Bennett announced she was undecided on the matter and a realist rather than "a prude".

She has not led a sheltered life and can not be dismissed as an arch-conservative on this issue, although her initial comments might look that way. There are political reasons for that.

The issue feeds in nicely to the law and order narrative National is pushing, and the hope voters will decide the Government is distracted by social reforms and punish Labour accordingly.

It is ripe for a bit of scaremongering and Bennett was up for the job.


She said she had many questions and her own vote would depend on the regime wrapped around any reforms.

She had many answers too which indicated she may well not be undecided.

She warned of the downfall of decent society as we know it should marijuana be decriminalised. Not a crevice of New Zealand would be weed-free.

Weed iceblocks would be there right in the supermarket chiller next to those delicious Kapiti plum ice creams. Children would be buying dollar mixes of electric puha lollies. Mr Whippy would become Mr Ganja.

She predicted that in 30 years time, those who voted to decriminalise in 2020 would be apologising to their children.

Judging from Bennett's beginning, National is likely to continue to beat the drum against liberalisation.

It is a legitimate stand for them, fitting in both with their traditional policies as well as much of their support base. It also makes political sense.

Anyone whose vote is steered solely by support of this issue is more likely to opt for the Greens or Labour than National, even if National's caucus blazed up their bongs in Parliament en masse.

The counter argument by Green MP Chloe Swarbrick and Justice Minister Andrew Little is that legalising recreational use is a way to regulate cannabis, allowing the Government to do things such as set an age limit for use and restrict the sale and use of the product.

Those MPs in electorates with prime growing conditions for marijuana such as Northland and the East Coast must also be busily calculating the effect it would have on their regional economies. Suddenly the poorest regions in New Zealand were in line to be the richest.

Much fun awaits when the MPs get back to business from next week.

In the meantime, the Australian Open is heading to finals day. That tennis tournament delivered the tragedy of watching the magnificent Roger Federer succumb to a young scoundrel, 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas. There was the crack of a generation in decline.

It didn't help that on the very same night, the BBC documentary series Dynasties began with the tale of David the chimpanzee, the alpha male beaten up by the younger males in his group and left for dead with his thumb torn off.

Some of us felt Federer's loss quite keenly what with being significantly closer to Federer's age than Tsitsipas', albeit far distant from the fitness level of both.

By way of reflecting that maturity, some of us may have even referred to the bounder as Pissypants.

That said, some of us now also want Tsitisipas to win so nobody else thinks they could have beaten Federer too.

So go, Pissypants, when you take on that other veteran, Rafael Nadal, tonight.

But be warned. David came back.*

* for a limited time - he was killed by the younger males about seven months after filming ended.